АО ГНЦ «Центр Келдыша»


The Scientific Research Institute for Jet Propulsion (RNII), today known as JSC “Keldysh Research Center”

was founded on October 31, 1933, by the Decree № 104 of the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR.

The RNII was established on the basis of the Gas Dynamic Laboratory (GDL), in Leningrad, and the Moscow-based Group for the Study of Jet Propulsion (GIRD). Ivan Terentyevich Kleymenov, Chief of the GDL, 1st rank military engineer, was appointed Head of the Institute. Sergey Pavlovich Korolev, Chief of the GIRD, was appointed Deputy Head of the Institute.

The RNII became Research & Development Enterprise over a short period of time that combined design, manufacturing and testing of rockets, rocket missiles, flight vehicles and engines for them, as well as scientific research that ensured the creation of rocketry.


The creation of missile weapons for our army was the main task prior war and during war periods in the Institute History

The development works on high explosive jet projectiles intended for air, sea and terrestrial targets were completed at the Institute in the period between 1933 and 1940, and entered service with the Army afterwards. Application of powder rocket missiles for area shooting from ground-based multiple rocket launchers was especially effective. Such a launch system BM-13 entered service with the Army and became a legendary rocket launcher Katyusha that played an important role in the Great Patriotic War. The Institute Staff was awarded with the Order of the Red Star in 1942 by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for the successful development of a new kind of the weapon. The designers of weapon were awarded with the Stalin Prize. Andrey Grigoryevich Kostikov, Head of Weapon Development, was awarded with the Title of Hero of Socialist Labour.


Technical experience

The Institute Staff played a leading role in the national rocketry. That is the development of the first generation rockets, rocket engines and rocket missiles, testing methods and specialists` education in the field of rocketry. From the moment of establishment of the Institute, some outstanding scientists and designers such as S.P. Korolev, V.P. Glushko, Y.A. Pobedonostsev, M.K. Tikhonravov, I.T. Kleymenov and G.E. Langemak worked there. Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was an honorary member of the RNII Technical Council.

The creation of a liquid rocket engine (LRE) for a fighter interceptor, the development of new models of rocket missiles for artillery and jet torpedoes for the Soviet Navy, design, manufacturing and testing of the first LRE in the USSR with a turbo pump system for fuel feed, the manufacturing and testing of the first national turbojet engine were realized at the Institute during a war period of time.


Highly qualified professionals such as S.P. Korolev, V.P. Glushko, N.A. Pilyugin, V.P. Mishin, A.M. Lyulka, M.M. Bondaryuk, A.M. Isaev, L.S. Dushkin and B.V. Rauschenbach worked at the “Rocket Institute”. Hundreds of talented specialists brought glory to national rocket & space science and technology in subsequent years. G.I. Petrov, V.Y. Likhushin, A.P. Vanichev, V.M. Ievlev, V.S. Avduevsky, N.A. Anfimov and many others worked at the Institute in post-war period. More than 30 specialists became members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Keldysh Research Center is proud of people whose names became famous all over the world.


Some leading organizations

The Institute became a founder of some leading organizations in the field of national rocket & space technology. Here they are:

  • 1944 – Branch Office for the Development of Solid Propellant Rocket Motors (SRMs) headed by Yu.P. Pobedonostsev (now Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology)

  • 1946 - The Saturn Engineering Design Bureau for the Development of Turbo Jet Engine headed by A.M. Lyulka

  • 1946 - Engineering Design Bureau of the factory № 293 headed by M.R. Bisnovat (now the Fakel Engineering Design Bureau)
  • 1948 - KhimMash Design Bureau for the Development of Liquid Rocket Engine headed by A.M. Isaev

  • 1950 – Engineering Design Bureau 670 for the Development of Ramjet Engines headed by M.M. Bondaryuk

  • 1952 – Engineering Design Bureau 1 of the NII-1 for the Development of Liquid Rocket Engine headed by L.S. Dushkin

  • 1954 – Branch Office for the Development of Cruise Missile Celestial Navigation headed by R.G. Chachikyan (now Moscow Institute for Electromechanics and Automatics)

  • 1958 – Branch Office for the Development of low-thrust LREs headed by M.G. Mironov (now FSUE NIIMash)

The Institute employees headed by P.I. Fedorov, Chief of the Institute, Major General, together with our attacking troops broke through the Blizna German missile firing territory and successfully performed the Chief Commander’s and the Country’s Leadership task regarding to assessment of German development in the field of rocketry. They properly examined German machines and documentation. Then, they stated proposals relating to the development of works in our country.

The Ministry of Armament became the Leading Ministry for the Development and Production of Ballistic Missiles with LREs after the Decree of Council of Ministers of the USSR “Issues of Jet Weapons” on May 13, 1946. It was a new stage of activity for the NII-1 that was a part of the Ministry of Aviation Industry that time.


M.V. Keldysh

Academician M.V. Keldysh was appointed Head of the Institute at the age of 35 years in 1946.

M.V. Keldysh started working with outstanding scientists such as G.I. Petrov, L.I. Sedov, G.N. Abramovich, A.P. Vanichev, E.S. Shchetinkov and others. Basic and applied scientific research in the field of thermodynamics, aero gas dynamics, combustion theory and heat exchange were conducted under their supervision. Design methods, LREs and supersonic ramjet testing begun to be developed. Investigations that allowed solving problems of aircraft thermal control and heat shield were made as well.

Two historical Decrees of the Government of the USSR were issued in 1954 relating to the development of the R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile in S.P. Korolev`s Design Bureau, the development of the Burya intercontinental cruise missile in S.A. Lavochkin`s Design Bureau and the Buran intercontinental cruise missile in V.M. Myasishchev`s Design Bureau.

Employees of the Institute successfully completed a state task and made a contribution to the creation of the R-7 World`s first intercontinental ballistic missile and a powerful launch vehicle based on it. The modifications of them are still in operation.

According to the Governmental Decree, all scientific research on the development of cruise missiles were under the supervision of the NII-1, particularly, under the responsibility of M.V. Keldysh.

According to the Governmental Decree, all scientific research on the development of cruise missiles were under the supervision of the NII-1, particularly, under the responsibility of M.V. Keldysh. New divisions and unique test facilities were created for performance of works on cruise missile project. Flight development tests of the Burya cruise missile were successfully carried out during 1957-1959. Thus, both separate systems and the entire rocket complex proved the data accomplishment included in technical requirements.

Works on cruise missile dynamics allowed solving new problems in terms of spacecraft control. The attitude control system intended for the Luna-3 Automatic Station was designed and developed in the NII-1 under the supervision of B.V. Raushenbakh. It took a photo of the far side of the Moon on October 7, 1959. Besides, the attitude control system for artificial satellites was developed.

A significant progress was achieved in works on staged combustion cycle LRE (closed cycle). Integrated tests of such LREs were carried out in A.P. Vanichev’s laboratory in 1959. Thus, engine performance, opportunity to reach high pressure in the combustion chamber and, as a result, a significant increase in specific impulse were confirmed during the tests. This research initiated a widespread development of works on production of staged combustion LREs in all national Propulsion Design Bureaus. Nowadays, the advantages of such staged combustion engines are widely recognized. Moreover, the best proof of it is that the USA used the RD-180 engines in the Atlas missile. Those engines were designed at NPO Energomash.

A series of new problems such as a fuel mixture or control system stabilization occurred because of the transition to staged combustion cycle LRE. However, they were successfully solved in the process of collaborative works with Design Bureaus. Works on LRE dynamics and the longitudinal stability of missiles allowed solving complicated tasks such as underwater launch of LRE, launch in conditions of mortar launch, engine-missile system stability.


The Scientific Research Institute of Thermal Processes

In the period of 1965-1991, the main works on missile and rocket & space complexes for military, economic and scientific usage in our country were carried out in the specialized Ministry for General Machine Building. This made it possible to ensure a new level of development for missiles and rocket & space complexes of different purpose. The Institute became the leading Scientific Research Establishment in the field of rocket engine manufacturing and was renamed the Scientific Research Institute of Thermal Processes (NIITP). The Institute was authorized to realize important works on the development of highly advanced LREs, SRMs and aerojet engines, new propellants, creation of highly efficient onboard power systems, nuclear power propulsion complexes and some other systems.

The research works on SRMs were resumed in latter half of the 1960s and ensured elaboration of best design concept for large sustainer engines, variety of solid propellants, heat-protective and erosion-resistant materials. Methods of creating nozzles of large expansion ratio, SRMs heat exchange and thermal protection calculation methods were developed and used in the Design Bureau. New concepts of highly efficient SRMs for substantial increase of a specific impulse were proposed.

In 1975, Keldysh Research Centre was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner of Labor for services in the development of rocketry.



Order of the Red Star

In 1942, by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, JSC “Keldysh Research Center” was awarded the Order of the Red Star for the successful development of new types of weapons.

Order of the Red Banner of Labour

By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of February 17, 1975, for the merits in the development of rocket and space technology, JSC “Keldysh Research Center” was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

Achievements of Keldysh Research Center

The Scientific Research Institute for Jet Propulsion (RNII) was established.

The RS-82 Jet Projectiles for I-15 and I-16 Fighters, the RS-132 Jet Projectiles for the SB-3 Strike-Aircraft entered service with the Army.

The BM-13 multiple launch rocket systems (the legendary rocket launcher Katyusha that played an important role in the Great Patriotic War) entered service with the Army. The RNII was awarded with the Order of the Red Star for the development of new kinds of weapon (1942).

The first in the USSR flight of the BI-1 jet fighter with a liquid rocket engine (LRE) was accomplished; the first in the USSR experimental turbojet (S-18) was made; a ramjet for the LA-7 and the LA-9 aircraft was developed.

Scientific foundation of LRE design and development on high-boiling and cryogenic propellants was laid to ensure the production of engines for the first Soviet ballistic missiles.

The World’s first supersonic wind tunnel with a wide Mach number range for studying a spatial flow around complex-shape bodies was made.

The scientific support for the development of LREs and descent vehicles intended for the R-7 first ballistic missile as well as for a launcher on its basis were implemented. Finally, the World’s First Artificial Earth Satellite was launched on October 4, 1957.

The scramjet configuration was proposed and theoretically proved.

The Burya intercontinental cruise missile with a ramjet and astronavigation guidance system was made in co-operation with the other enterprises of the branch.

Problems of ensuring the LREs high reliability and rockets longitudinal stability were solved. It allowed implementing a launch of the first spacecraft to the Moon (1959) and the first manned flight into space on April 12, 1961.

Works on creating a nuclear rocket engine (NRE) began. The NRE reactor power start was realized.

Special equipment was made, as well as the first measurement of the Earth`s infrared radiation from space was implemented.

Special equipment was developed, as well as measurements of illumination in the Venus atmosphere and its surface were made for the first time ever (1972).

Staged Combustion Cycle LRE was theoretically and experimentally justified and implemented in all world’s best advanced engines, which allowed to substantially increase a specific impulse; effective suppression methods for all-type self-oscillation processes in LREs were developed and integrated into industry.

A great number of comprehensive research works on SRMs of special purpose was fulfilled. Methodical procedures & design documentation were developed; optimization of the high-power SRMs and special-purpose products were completed with the help of the active participation of the Institute`s specialists.

A family of powerful DC electric arc plasmatrons widely used in aviation & space industry, plasma chemistry and plasma metallurgy was developed.

The first national hydrogen-oxygen electromechanical generators for manned spacecraft were created.

The Onega electron-beam installation with MW power electron beam injection into the atmosphere in the continuous mode was made.

The butt-end plasma movers were successfully tested on the artificial Earth satellite for the first time ever.

Special equipment was developed that allowed performing the direct measurements of spectral radiation and wind velocity in the Venus atmosphere & surface by means of the Venera-9 and Venera-10 descent modules.

The Scientific Research Institute of Thermal Processes (NIITP) was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for the development of rocket and space technology.

The scientific support and participation in the development of high-power LREs and a series of systems for the Energiya-Buran rocket & space complex have been realized.

High-frequency electrodeless plasmatron, the most powerful in the USSR, was made. Thermal protection of advanced spacecraft and the destruction system for nuclear power system constructions in case of emergency deorbit were developed.

Works on the creation and improvement of a new generation of environmentally clean rocket engines are being conducted: LRE on oxygen + methane, tripropellant LRE on oxygen + hydrogen + hydrocarbon fuel, expander cycle LRE.

Unique results on physics of Earth`s upper atmosphere were obtained by the use of the Minor plasma installation.

The development of a new-type ramjet was completed and introduced into the cruise missiles.

Highly efficient evaporation recompression stations for purification of salt-containing sewage waters and production of drinking and distilled water from salt waters were created.

Ozone-safe refrigerant C1 (total substitute for R12 Freon gas) was created and awarded a diploma and a medal on the World’s Exhibition in Brussels.

Highly efficient new generation Hall-effect plasma thrusters (from 0.1 up to 6 kW) were developed and continue to be upgraded, including those with a high specific impulse (up to 2500...3000s) and thrust vector control opportunity.

Highly efficient micro- and ultrafiltration stations for cleaning liquids from suspended matters and for the regeneration of industrial oil & coolant lubricant fluids were created.

Two types of xenon ion thrusters were developed.

Works on the creation of highly efficient rocket engines for small-size spacecraft have been carried out.

Highly efficient deparaffinization method to clean oil wells was developed.

The test prototype of a new generation reusable oxygen-methane engine was produced and tested.

The solar thermal power and propulsion system for transport power modules was developed. Experimental testing of its key elements was performed. Design documentation of the engine was developed (in cooperation with NPO Energomash).  

Serviceability of a droplet cooler-radiator model was proved by the unique experiment on board the Mir Orbital Complex.

Works on upgrading of the ISS power systems intended for ensuring thermal control and fire safety in the ISS pressurized compartments, reduction of contamination effects on the ISS external surface, which occur due to propulsion systems for attitude control and orbit correction, were carried out.

The unique cryogenic vacuum test facility for the electric propulsion engine with a volume of 90 m3 was put into operation.

Flight tests of a Hall-effect thruster in assembly with the Express-A №4 spacecraft began.

A concept of the International Project of the Mars Manned Expedition was developed; a concept of using a nuclear power system and a nuclear power and propulsion system for missions to the far and nearest planets was developed.

Effective measures intended to prevent burning through combustion chambers in the 14D23 & RD0124A thrusters when operating a high-performance mixing unit during a warranty operation time (three flight service lives in addition to check & in-process tests) were developed and implemented.

The Caspiy Plant for seawater desalination in Aktau (Kazakhstan, Caspiy) was put into operation.

AC electric-arc plasmatron with a power of 1000 kW and a service life up to 500 hours was developed.

The propulsion system prototype of a space transport module was designed and experimentally tested. Besides the use of a chemical energy of fuel, a solar energy is used in the module that allows increasing a specific impulse of a propulsion system up to 700...750 s.

Works on hydrogen power engineering including a ground-based one with the use of hydrogen as the most efficient and ecologically clean energy carrier began.

The fuel cell battery created for the first time in Russia and intended for power production with the use of solid polymer membranes was created.

Works on the creation of the IFKS-2 infrared Fourier-spectrometer intended for the installation on the Meteor-M №2 spacecraft began.

Works on the development of the KM-60 plasma engine were completed.

According to the Governmental Decree, JSC “Keldysh Research Center” was defined as a leading enterprise of Roscosmos in the field of nanotechnologies in the direction of functional materials for rocketry and the Center of nanotechnologies application in power engineering and power supply for space systems.

Computer modelling methods & domain-specific software systems were developed for modeling and prediction of work processes and functional parameters for rocket engines different types.

The operation of the KM-5 Hall-effect thruster onboard a geostationary communication satellite launched into orbit in June 2002 successfully continues. As of May 2008, the engine operation time was 1550 hours and 900 engine starts.

According to the Governmental Decree of the Russian Federation №874 on November 22, 2008, Keldysh Research Centre was given the status of the State Scientific Centre of the Russian Federation.

An engineering prototype of on-board Fourier-spectrometer for temperature and humidity remote sounding of atmosphere was developed and intended for the installation on the Meteor-M №2 spacecraft.

The draft project of a pilot installation for the production of liquid synthetic hydrocarbons from coal with a capacity of up to 5 tons of coal per hour was developed.

The development and production of an industrial installation`s pilot module for heavy-oil product processing by the means of electric spark with a capacity of up to 35 tons per hour was implemented.

The Board specialized in the analysis of causes of a manned vehicle`s descent module transition to ballistic descent mode investigated electro physical factors effect on pyrotechnics operation in assembly with the ISS and issued recommendations for the descent of a spacecraft.

In the course of joint works with the KBKhA Design Bureau, the initial stage of testing the laser ignition system of the RD0146 promising oxygen and hydrogen engine was completed.

The draft project of a pilot installation for the production of liquid synthetic hydrocarbons from brown coal with a capacity of up to 6500 tons of product per year was developed.

The Project Report was prepared for the Presidential Commission of the Russian Federation for Modernization and Technological Development of the Economy in Russia.

The plasma cathode for Hall-Effect Thrusters and Ion Electric Propulsion Engines with a new Ir-La electron emitter was developed, manufactured and successfully tested. It had a temperature close to W-Ba emitter and a resistance to poisoning close to LaB6 emitter. The cathode is unique in Russia and in the world as well.

The development and the creation of NPPS within the framework of the Project of TEM creation based on megawatt-class Nuclear Power and Propulsion System, the preparation of the first prototype of NPPS for flight & design tests. The Draft Contract of TEM creation based on megawatt-class Nuclear Power and Propulsion System was concluded in 2010. Keldysh Research Centre was defined as a sole Contractor on the creation of megawatt-class NPPS, as well as a Coordinator of works on Project Implementation according to the Presidential Decree of the Russian Federation on June 22, 2010. The project is being realized with the cooperation of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos, the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Works on the creation of the IFKS-3 Fourier-spectrometer intended for the Meteor-MP spacecraft began.

Flight tests of a correction unit based on the KM-60 Hall-effect thruster began. Sparking voltage was increased for the first time ever in the world up to 500 V at a specific impulse over 1805 s.

The first national IKFS-2 was tested and put into operation within the Meteor-M №2 spacecraft.

Works on the creation of IKFS-2 intended for the Meteor-M №2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4 spacecraft began.

Developments of nanosystems and nanodevices continue in order to introduce advanced space technologies. The method of applying thermal control coating of aluminium oxide onto electric rocket engine details was developed. It allows reducing operational temperature and increasing the engine service life. The process of applying a heat protective coating of a pyrochlore structure onto the LRE combustion chamber`s prototype was experimentally investigated. Engineering solutions on the creation of adaptive surfaces based on amorphous crystalline materials with a reverse shape memory effect were developed for space vehicles.

Implementation of the concept of an adjustable nozzle made of composite materials into the design of a rocket engine. Carbon-ceramic composites in adjustable nozzles and systems allow reducing layout weight by 1,5-2 times, providing with a wide range of engine thrust control and extending temperature limits for nozzle elements up to 2000 K and more.

Nowadays, the ion thrusters of different power are being under the development at Keldysh Research Center. Particular attention is paid to the development & tests of the ID-200 ion engine that can be used for spacecraft orbit correction, as well as for the implementation of deep space missions. The fire complex tests of a new ID-200 KR ion engine were successfully performed.

The project documentation for the Caspiy desalination plant expansion in Aktau, Kazakhstan, was developed in order to increase twice the production of drinking water, up to 40000 м3 per day, within the framework of projects development for product diversification in enterprises of rocket and space industry.

The RG-100 electric arc heater (plasmatron) of an average power of 30-40 kW was developed for application in new technologies of rocket & space equipment and in various industries as well.

The Proton-M launch rocket with the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) onboard was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 21, 2021. It was successfully docked to the Russian Segment of the International Space Station on July 29.

Keldysh Research Center significantly contributed to the development of MLM module, the preparation to its launch and took part in scientific & technical problems solving during a launch, space flight and docking to ISS.

The scientists and engineers of Keldysh Research Center provided the solution of the following tasks such as:

  • Calculation and experimental testing of thrusters and propulsion systems;

  • MLM module preparation at the manufacturing plant as well as at technical and launch complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome;

  • Assessment of the materials’ quality of rocket thrusters, propulsion systems, elements of MLM`s and ISS`s docking node;

  • Assessment of the manufacturing quality of the Proton-M launch rocket and the MLM module;

  • Analysis of tests of propulsion systems and their performance as well as participation in fire tests program for service life extension;

  • Research on physicochemical and mechanical characteristics of materials for rocket engine, propulsion systems, fuel tanks and docking nodes between MLM module and ISS;

  • Modelling of liquid flow process and fuel and gas components behavior, calculation of propulsion system parameters;

  • Calculation of hydraulic specifications of pneumatic and hydraulic system for propulsion installations as well as propulsion systems in general, assessment of fuel and gas reserves in fuel tanks and in propulsion system`s elements;

  • Experimental verification of reliability of MLM control units;

  • Calculation of cyclical strength for displacers of MLM fuel tanks.